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Truths and Lies - Week 12



By Steve Schwarz | 11/22/23


We get a reprieve from any byes this week, but prepare for a six-team bye schedule next weekend. Injuries continue to make life difficult for fantasy owners. This week, Joe Burrow and elite tight end Mark Andrews suffered major injuries. Other various length injuries fantasy owners will have to watch include; Aaron Jones (again), Devon Achane (again), Cooper Kupp (again) and Kenneth Walker.

There are the usual three Thanksgiving games, but for the first time in NFL history there is an afternoon Black Friday game (Miami at New York Jets) so please make sure to account for this change when setting your lineup.

Byes: None

Truths

“Ultimately, the team has to come first even though we all have individual goals and preferences.” – Bill Belichick

1) I don’t want to take away from my hometown Eagles great win Monday night… but the Chiefs haven’t scored a second-half touchdown since October 22nd.

True. In fact, they have scored just one second-half touchdown in the last five games and five second-half touchdowns all season (none on the ground). Mahomesí QB Rating by quarter is 107.8, 101.5, 92.7 and 68.9. His fourth-quarter production has been dropping for three consecutive years, from a high of 116.2 in 2020 to 115.0, 87.7 and this seasonís 68.9. This yearís version of Patrick Mahomes has the worst fantasy production of his career (not including his one-game 2017 season).

2) Since Week 7 none of these quarterbacks rank in the top-10 at their position (by FPts/G); Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, Trevor Lawrence, Tua Tagovailoa and Jared Goff.

Fact. They rank from 12th-20th on the list. Over the past five week four ďyoungĒ guys have taken up residence in the top-10 including; rookie C.J. Stroud (28.0), Brock Purdy (26.1) Sam Howell (25.9) and Joshua Dobbs (24.8). Maybe you donít have to pay a lot to get an elite quarterback for your fantasy lineup to succeed?

3) The recent increase in production from Jahmyr Gibbs and the return of David Montgomery from injury explains Goffís drop from the top-10.

The numbers seem to confirm this theory. While Goff averaged 23.1 over the first six games heís averaging 19.1 since Week 7. Meanwhile, Gibbsí production rose from 9.7 through Week 6 to a league-leading 26.3 since Week 7 and Montgomery has added 17.7 fantasy points in the last two weekends. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, there is only one football allowed per team. When one area increases, another must fall. Lions fans arenít complaining, the team has lost once since Week 3.

Austin Ekeler

4) Austin Ekeler will turn out to be a disappointing top-five choice this season.

True. His production is down 5.3 fantasy points per game from a season ago. Itís not his rushing yards, heís actually rushing for slightly more yards per game than in 2022. Itís his receptions, receiving yards and scoring. He was likely the first or second running back off the board on Draft Day, but he ranks 10th this season averaging 17 fantasy points per game (full PPR). See the chart below.

 Austin Ekeler
  Rush Yds Rush TDs Rece Rec Yds Rec TDs
2023 56.6 0.57 3.4 36.3 0.14
2022 53.8 0.76 6.3 42.5 0.29
2021 56.9 0.75 4.4 40.4 0.50

5) C.J. Stroud is throwing so well, he’s able to support three fantasy-worthy wide receivers and a top-10 tight end.

Fact. For the season, his three wideouts; Tank Dell (16.4 FPts/G), Nico Collins (15.2) and Noah Brown (14.2) all rank in the top-20. Heís also supporting a top-10 tight end in Dalton Schultz (11.4). Thatís the power of a pocket passer on a roll. Stroud doesnít run much (23 attempts for 85 yards), but he leads the league in passing yards per game (296.2). Meanwhile, the team is 29th in rushing yards per attempt, so they throw the ball a lot.

Lies

“If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.” – Albert Einstein

1) The loss of Deshaun Watson for the season is a blow to fantasy owners.

False. Watson finished in the top-10 in just two of the six weeks he played (he missed multiple games before the season-ending shoulder injury) and never finished higher than eighth. The loss of Joe Burrow on the other hand, IS a blow as he was just starting to round into prime form. He had averaged 27.9 FPts/G from Week 8-10.

2) Tommy DeVito finished eighth-best in Week 11, maybe he can help me down the stretch?

Sorry, no. DeVito managed his season-best 25.0 fantasy points against one of the worst pass defenses in the league. The Commanders are allowing 25.3 FPts/G to opposing fantasy quarterbacks which ranks 31st in the league. DeVito faces a top-10 Patriotsí pass defense in Week 12 then goes on bye before scheduled dates with Green Bay, New Orleans, Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Rams.

3) Najee Harris is still the lead back for Pittsburgh.

In number of carries only. In terms of production, I have to lean to Jaylen Warren. Over the past three games Harris has 50 touches to 43 for Warren, but Warren has produced 56.8 fantasy points to 38.8 for Harris. Warren has a better yards per attempt, yards per reception and FPts/G than Harris. It feels like a cheaper version of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard from last season, but in this Steelersí offense itís hard to like any starter. Pittsburgh ranks 28th in points, 31st in passing yards, 31st in passing TDs, 16th in rushing yards and 17th in rushing TDs.

4) Breece Hall remains an RB1.

False. The collapse of the Jets offense and the poor quarterback play has taken Hall down with it. After averaging 7.2 ypc through Week 5, Hallís running production has cratered. Heís averaging just 2.5 ypg in his last five games. The only factor which has partially saved him is his receiving work. Heís managed 23 catches for 227 yards and two scores since Week 6, but his 16.1 FPts/G has knocked him down the charts. Heís ranked 13th over the past five weeks and 20th over the last three games. Hall is headed in the wrong direction.

5) Christian Watson is still the receiver to have in Green Bay.

Remember the promise we saw in Christian Watson last season? Itís gone. Long gone. Watson has dropped all the way down to third in my list of Packersí receivers to roster. Both rookie Jayden Reed and Romeo Doubs have passed Watson in value. Reed, in particular has jumped up over the past few weeks and is my preferred target for Jordan Love. Reed is averaging 14.5 FPts/G over the past four weeks and has even been productive as a runner. Doubs has increased his production from 8.0 last season to 12.0 in 2023 while Watsonís totals have dropped from 11.7 to 7.6 FPts/G.